0:00:02 – Speaker 1
Welcome to the nextTalk podcast, where we share real stories and practical advice for parenting the digital world.
0:00:09 – Speaker 2
We’re your hosts, Mandy and Kim. Mandy is an award-winning author and the founder of nextTalk, and I’m the director of nextTalk, a nonprofit organization created to strengthen families through open communication. You can check out all of our resources at nextTalk.org.
0:00:24 – Speaker 1
We’re your wives, moms and friends tackling culturally relevant topics from a Christian perspective. We’re sharing what we’ve learned and where we’ve failed. We’re so glad you’re here for this conversation. So we were recently at an event out of state outside of Texas and we got asked this question How do you handle when your child lies to you? Are there consequences? And if so, what can I? do You get slapped? That is child abuse, kim. No, you know, and it’s so weird is that this happened a couple of weeks ago and since then I have been reached out to on Facebook about this question. Same thing, kind of a little bit of a different scenario, but it’s that sneaky, lying behavior you know that we’re talking about. And then I was at an event last night and got asked this question again. So we need to do a podcast. That’s a guide. Like hello, i can’t slap your kid. You got to deal with this in a very different way.
0:01:24 – Speaker 2
Well, i think it happens a lot with the internet and I think, with all the online pull that kids are facing, sneaking around and trying to get to, things is just common Yeah.
0:01:35 – Speaker 1
I think you’re right. I think you’re right, kim, and you know. First, i want to share what I initially just said. You know at the event, on the spot when somebody asked me this. So here’s the thing Lying is one of those really big deals in our home.
I do not take this lightly because I expect my kid to make mistakes, but I don’t expect them to lie to me and to create this like double life sort of thing, because when that happens there’s a literal breakdown in communication. So in my mind, you know we have a plate and it has been broken in half and it needs to be glued back together And so and that doesn’t happen with a mistake So what I mean by that is you know if your kid is watching porn because they’re curious, or they shared a nude in a moment of weakness, or you know they commented something really bad on social media and they are convicted about that and they tell you about it. To me the plate is intact because they’re being honest with you and they’re coming to you and it’s not the end of the world. Like their kids, there’s going to be mistakes. Let me walk you through that. But if you’re doing all that in secret and you’re living a double life and hiding it from me. That’s a broken plate. That’s a broken relationship. There’s a bigger problem here than just the issue of what your mistake is. So here’s the thing. The follow up of this question is is there a consequence for lying? You know, in my home there’s always a consequence for lying. There’s always going to be a consequence for not trusting me with something, and here’s how that may go down. You have to be careful with how you discipline kids these days And I say this because I see this a lot. I think I see it a lot because we don’t really realize what we’re doing. So let me explain the scenario to you.
A lot of times I will hear parents say you’ve lost your phone for a month. I don’t do that in my home. Here’s what I say instead You’ve lost your phone for a month when you’re at home. So when you walk in the door from school, you’re going to drop your phone on the mud bench and there’s going to be no phone and no screens in the evenings. You’re not going to have the Xbox, you’re not going to have the iPad. We can watch family TV together or whatever. If you need to be on a computer for homework. You know you can be, but that’s it.
Why do I do that? Here’s why Because when we take away their phone while they’re at school, it creates a really good environment for them to go to school and get on their friend’s phone and create a different social media account that you’re not aware of. It almost creates an environment where we’re teaching them to be sneaky and lying to us, and so I think we need to be really careful about how we’re disciplining our kids, because we don’t really think about the access that they have everywhere else. And so in my home, when I do that consequence of taking away the phone, it’s when you come home at night, so that way you still have your phone during the day, i can still communicate with you And, honestly, then your kid is more likely to be on their phone than a friend’s phone.
And you have parental control set up and you’re monitoring that phone and you’re doing random phone checks. So you have a little bit more I hate to use the word control, but you know what I mean You have a little bit more insight as to what’s happening on a phone, versus creating an environment where I’m taking this away from you. Then they’re going to go to school or youth group or somewhere like that and use somebody else’s phone.
0:04:50 – Speaker 2
I’m really glad that you set that up because I think a lot of times we go right to their currency and we say something that is not only hard to do for us as a parent like your kid not having their phone for 30 days and to actually uphold that But also if they’re already struggling with being sneaky And, like you said, they go to school and they have the opportunity to log into someone else’s phone, that’s not the time to create a situation where they can be even sneakier. What you’re saying is much more doable and, i think, much more effective.
0:05:22 – Speaker 1
Well, and we just don’t think about it because we think they lied to us. We have a consequence and, like you said, it’s their currency. They love their phone, so we just take away the phone, but we don’t really think about. So what kind of environment does that mean at school, with them not having a phone and everybody else having a phone? like what is that? what kind of temptations are there? And they’re already mad at us for taking away their phone. So they’re like screw mom and dad, screw it, i’m getting. Create a fake account. They don’t even know it and now they can’t even monitor it. I mean, it just sets up a perfect environment for the breakdown of the relationship, which is already a cracked plate because they’re lying to i just talked to a mom yesterday who’s her daughter came home And she told her daughter, hey, could you text so?
0:06:05 – Speaker 2
and so it was something about a ride.
0:06:07 – Speaker 1
And she was like, well, no, because she’s using a burner phone, because her parents took her phone away, and she just said it very nonchalantly because it’s so common i was talking to a school administrator one time and he said you know, i had to bust a kid because he would open up his locker And it was like a pop up shop, all these phones to for sale. Because it was in. The kid was saying parent took your phone away, not getting a phone. Yet i got you covered. And you know, the school administrator was like oh my gosh, i can’t believe these kids. And over here i’m dying laughing because i am like this kid is brilliant, that is the next Steve job. And he saw a need and a niche. He was like i’m gonna create a business out of it. I mean something actually. You think about it. and his little slogans your parents take your phone away, i got you covered.
0:06:58 – Speaker 2
I’m kind of impressed, quite honestly.
0:07:00 – Speaker 1
Yeah, you know, one thing that i want to say here to is yes, there’s a consequence, so they’ve lied to you. there’s a consequence. You need to go deeper than that. it needs to be deeper than just you messed up a consequence and i see this a lot. it just gets really like legalistic And then we never teach a lesson, we just a consequence.
so you gotta dig deeper than the consequence, and what i mean by that is your kid needs to feel Like you’re hurt because this relationship is now broken. there’s not a, there’s been a breakdown. there has been a breakdown of trust that now has to be repaired, and it’s gonna require some super glue to put these pieces back together, and it’s gonna be a little bit of work on both parties To get the relationship where it needs to be. your kid needs to feel that, and that’s gonna create an environment where the next time, when they want to lie to you, instead of them thinking i’m gonna lose my phone, it’s gonna be like i’m gonna really hurt mom or dad, and then we’re gonna have to take a lot of work to get back to where we need to go, and so maybe i should just be honest with them about what’s happening, instead of going through the all of this term, all of trying to rebuild a relationship so good.
0:08:18 – Speaker 2
it’s all about the relationship, and if your kid is not feeling that remorse over the relationship and they just are frustrated about their phone, then we’re missing the bigger point, and that is why is the relationship broken and why are they feeling the need to lie to you? what are the questions in the, the conversations we need to dig into to get to the root of it so it doesn’t keep happening to give? we’re just dealing with the surface of the actual lie. We never understand why they feel like they need to keep things from us, and that’s so important. that’s how we move forward in the relationship.
0:08:51 – Speaker 1
Well, and i think this is really important, like you said, getting getting to the bottom of why did you feel the need to lie to me? And you know, when you hear Kim and i say all the time, we have to look in the mirror, this is a. This is a point where you may have to look in the mirror, because here’s what I’m seeing a lot, and I’m not excusing that. Your kid lied to you And this is gonna hurt a little bit. Parents. I’m not making an excuse for your kids, but a lot of times, what I see is well, mom is so scared of social media she’s never gonna give it to me. So why not, like, why not just go to school and create a fake account? you know an account that she doesn’t know about on my friend’s phone And they don’t see it as, oh my gosh, i’m going behind my mom’s. They’re looking at you saying you’re so afraid of digital parenting, and they see that in you They can smell it And that’s like it’s bad.
They could see it right, and so a lot of times we create this environment where it’s easier to lie to us, and oftentimes too, like maybe our reactions are over the top or maybe we’re so dang strict, we’re so much about helicoptering and not experiencing the world of oh, you can’t be exposed to that. You know, it’s all that fear based stuff that we talk about all the time. They feel that, and so they’re like I’m gonna go watch that, i’m gonna go to her friend’s house and I’m gonna binge eat that if my parents won’t let me have that Or whatever. It’s that rebellious, like she’s never gonna let me do it, so I’m gonna do it anyway. I mean, i was there as a teenager. I remember it like it was yesterday.
0:10:27 – Speaker 2
Oh, my goodness, i’m really glad you said that about the overreaction and also about the strictness, because I see that so much And sometimes it starts from a young age. They’ve always been that way. Like mom will lose her ever loving mind if I say anything that upsets her, and so then the lying can also become part of protecting mom, because they’re like I’m just not gonna let her know all the things that I’ve seen or done or engaged in because she gets so upset about it. I don’t wanna upset mom. She can’t handle it.
0:11:00 – Speaker 1
She can’t handle it. We do this in our marriages, guys. We do this in our oh. He’s too stressed right now. He can’t handle this. No, i think that’s just a lie from Satan. I think it’s just a lie from Satan for us to sweep stuff under the rug and to make this lying sneakiness like a part of our culture, and it doesn’t need to be.
0:11:18 – Speaker 2
Well, even, unfortunately, media and shows and characters. it’s very much a part of what our kids see all day long. I mean that’s just very common. Don’t tell dad, don’t tell my husband that we sneak around, we do whatever we want. I’d say that’s more of a common theme than anything else in the shows that your kids are watching. So already you’re up against that idea. And then if our reactions are over the top or we’re so strict when they’re little and they’ve been under this thumb for years and years and years, and then now they actually have a mind and they realize they can make their own decisions, oh my gosh, like they’re not gonna even mess with us. It’s just too much work. So I totally see what you mean by that, like the sneakiness. We gotta take it down a notch. We gotta be reasonable.
0:12:02 – Speaker 1
Well, and the reason we’re bringing this up is because, listen, so you found out your kids lying to you. Yes, that needs to be addressed. Yes, there needs to be a consequence. But this going deeper part you have to figure out why they lied to you. So in six months they’re not lying to you about something else, and normally they’re lying to you because there’s a breakdown of the relationship somewhere. They don’t trust you. Maybe you’ve broadcast their business And so you know. If somebody does get drunk at a party, it’s just easier to just sneak and lie about it than to call you and tell you and trust you with that information, because you’re gonna go ballistic. What are we doing to create the environment? Are we just parenting out of fear? And we’re sheltering too much? We’re trying to bubble wrap, we do all sorts of things as parents and they’re all good intentions to protect our kids, but they end up backfiring on us because kids have access to everything now, and so we have to switch our thinking and how we’re dealing with some of these things.
0:13:02 – Speaker 2
Well, I think that’s kind of what the conversation looks like. You know, we’ve said many times an apology goes so far And as you’re working to repair the plate and repair the relationship, and not a lecture, and not when you’re in the moment and you’re angry or disappointed, but as you’re doing these deeper conversations and trying to figure out the source of their lying, I think being really transparent is so important. You know, being able to say to your kid are my reactions part of the reason why you’re not telling me, like, is it freaking you out when I’m freaking out, like, tell me what’s going on, like, what do you see? Or how does this make you feel? Like those are all things that you’re gonna have to get over yourself. And I know that’s not a very nice thing to say, but I’ve had to say it to myself. I’ve had to look in the mirror and say get over yourself and your pride and be transparent with your kid, because ultimately, the most important thing is getting that relationship repaired. So I’m willing to do whatever.
0:13:56 – Speaker 1
Absolutely Well, and I think as you dig deeper into this, kim and we’re talking about this look in the mirror trying to repair what’s broken I think you have to also ask yourself this question Have you created a culture in your home where lying is unacceptable? And I think for many of us, we let little lies go and so kids kind of get confused about it. So here’s I mean little things really do matter. If Amazon is dropping off a bunch of packages and you’re hiding them from your husband before they get home and you’re asking your kids to help you do that, i know that’s just a little thing, but you’re creating a culture where you’re telling your kid it’s okay that we lie to each other.
I love Proverbs 12, 22,. It says the Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. You know lying is a sin. We need to be trustworthy, but we can’t lie our way out of things. We can’t make up things. We can’t lie to our loved ones. We have to be trustworthy Like people have to know that our word matters and that we’re not living a double life or in that we are who we say we are.
0:15:02 – Speaker 2
And this is hard because I think you identified really well that we do it sometimes unintentionally create this environment for our kids.
0:15:11 – Speaker 1
With the Amazon packages, because you relate to that. I did not relate to that one. Charles, are you listening? Are you listening? This is why you were a run to Charles. No, I’m just kidding.
0:15:21 – Speaker 2
I could see those new leggings Charles.
0:15:27 – Speaker 1
Charles is a nice show. No, but I am gonna tell on myself I do not hide the Amazon packages, but it is little things right.
0:15:35 – Speaker 2
That seems to be late. That’s what it was for me, and anybody who knows me is like yes, kim, you are always late, but my kids would hear me say like I’m five minutes away when I’d be like 10 minutes away.
Yes, and I, kim, and they called you out on it And this was like when they were little. You know it’s super sweet And I was like, oh my gosh, this really does matter. And so it was. You know, one of those things that seems little And then you realize, okay, they’re really watching And it does matter. And so I do wanna say here it starts young in creating that culture and pointing out to them how important it is, to be honest. But I do think when they’re little, sometimes they get confused And so sometimes giving them language and scenarios is helpful, and this is something that worked in my house with one of my kids And it was really transformative for them, because when you’re in a house with multiple siblings and maybe this happens in any house, even if you’re an only sometimes you’re vying for attention.
Okay, that’s just the way it is. And I know in our house we are big on humor, we’re big on dancing and we’re big on competition, and I started noticing that one of my kids’ stories were really over the top And I was like, hmm, like being exaggerated, yes, to the point where it was like straight up lies, like straight up. And I was like, you know, they were little at the time and at first I was gonna go in with the like whole lie thing. And then I was like let me try a different approach and I give you this example because it’s helped a few other moms You have little ones.
I said, hey, you know how, when you tell me a story like this, i want you to know how creative it is. And I’m wondering if this is something you came up with to entertain us or It’s a real thing that happened. And they kind of like looked like oh no, she’s on to me. And then there was a little hamming and hawing, like what do I do? and then they said, well, yeah, i kind of made it up and I was like such a good story, it was so entertaining, it was so great, but it wasn’t true. So, listen, you can still tell stories like this. You just have to start it with. What if this happened, or can you imagine if? and then we get to enjoy it And you’re not lying anymore and it like changed their life, like we hear those stories all the time now. But they needed that little language, like just to tweak it because they’re little.
0:18:07 – Speaker 1
I Love this cam. This is so practical and then you can go into. This is important because lying, yes, and we don’t want to do that, but you’re. But you’re starting off on the practical side, like not shaming them, not telling them They messed up or anything like that, just pointing out you can do it differently.
0:18:22 – Speaker 2
Yeah, when they’re little, you have to do that a lot and that again sets that tone in your house that They can talk to you about anything, you’re not gonna lose your mind, but that things like lying are not okay and we’re gonna address it.
0:18:35 – Speaker 1
You’re using the example of little kids. You know I is a mom of teens. You know we see all day long, just with my teenagers and the work I do at nextTalk, teenagers living double lives. I mean, I just see this all the time. The Instagram account that mom and dad are monitoring, you know the bio says John 316. I love Jesus. Yeah, you know. And all these like modest clothes. And then there’s another Instagram account that mom and dad don’t even know exist and It’s like booty pictures and you know sexualized stuff going on and it’s just bad content.
When you see this happening And you’re gonna see it, parents if you’re a next-talk family, your kids are gonna be coming to you telling you this all the time about how teenagers are doing this and other kids are doing this. When you see that happening, use it as a teachable moment. This is what I say to my kids. Listen, i feel sorry for that kid because I feel like they can’t tell their parents. I want social media. I feel really left out. You don’t understand this and this and this is happening and I’ve proven myself to you And you still won’t give it to me. And so there’s a breakdown in the relationship there, where the kid feels like they have to lie. And What’s really sad is when mom and dad find out They’re gonna bring the hammer down because they’ve lied now and it’s a whole situation. And like I point that out to my kids So they can see the turmoil that all of that creates.
And then I say To my teenagers like I’ve said this to my teenagers Listen, i expect you to make mistakes. So if you’re at a party, you have a drink, or your friend gets drunk or whatever, call me if you make a mistake. You are a teenager, your brain is not developed yet. The, the prefrontal cortex, where impulse control and decision-making happen, is not gonna be fully developed until you’re in your 20s. So you are gonna make stupid, impulsive decisions. Sometimes. That’s when you call me the most, because I’m there to help you.
And you know, if you’ve got teenagers on social media, say some big things. You’re not gonna expose them to anything You know. Say if you are struggling with pornography if you are, you know whatever it is Throw out some of these big mistakes and say we’ll get through it. Like I just don’t want you living the double life, because the double life thing, that’s gonna take a long time to repair our relationship, and sometimes too, with my teenagers. I use mom and dad as an example.
You know, like if my husband is lying to me about something, whether it’s little or big, we’re gonna have a problem in our marriage and that’s gonna create a lot of friction and a relationship with my kids is the same. Like I expect for you not to light at me I. That is a huge expectation in our home that we’re going to be honest, even when it’s hard and even when it’s very hurtful to hear, or even when they don’t think that I’m going to agree with them. Like if they say I’m going to do this, like whatever it is that they may be doing differently than us, they know they can still tell me and they don’t have to lie to me about it, because I’m going to unconditionally love them, no matter what.
0:21:37 – Speaker 2
What I hear a lot, especially from young moms, is I don’t want to say the words or I don’t want to expose my kids to things, because then I’ll plant it in their head and then they’ll go thinking about it or looking for it or digging into it. And what we’ve said all along is use age appropriate terms. but you have to talk to your kids about hard things, and it’s the same here with lying. You have to talk to them about the things that are okay to happen in their life. Like you said, the hard things like are you struggling with pornography, whatever it is? you have to present that often and say hey, if this is happening, i would rather us work on it together than you lie about it.
And as Christian parents, we need to throw in there to their faith. We need to be able to say that and not think that by bringing it up or sending them down a path that they’ll never recover from. They need to hear that, no matter what it is they’re struggling with, questioning, curious about that, if they tell us, it’s not going to change that we love them, it’s not going to change that we’re not going to help walk them through. And even if we have a difference of opinion. I may feel completely different than you on this issue, but we can still talk about it. I just don’t want you to lie to me. I want to know the real you.
0:22:51 – Speaker 1
Well, and I think that’s really important, kim, especially for Christian parents, because we pray for these kids and we want them to know Jesus and we want them to, you know, we want God to speak into their lives and use them mightily, you know, and we just have all these prayers over them, and so sometimes it gets a little scary for us when they may be questioning their faith or going against something that’s very biblically sound, and we start freaking out, and so that creates an environment where then they won’t trust us, and so we do have to kind of check ourselves and look in the mirror a little bit there. We have to love them unconditionally, no matter what. That creates the environment where they really can be honest with us about how they’re feeling and what they’re struggling with, without You have to tell them that And I tell them that often Don’t just assume that they know.
Well, and like what you said with the, i’m scared I’m going to overexpose them. Listen, i tell parents all the time if your kid has a phone, you’re not going to overexpose your kids. They’re already exposed. So say pornography rip the band-aids off, say it Now if they don’t have a phone. You do have to be a little bit more careful if they’re younger and they don’t have all of that access yet And it’s very much more controlled. Yes, you have to be careful how much you expose them to. You still can use these little teachable moments, like you were talking about with the exaggerated stories, to create an environment where they realize lying is wrong. You’re setting that foundation. So you’ve got a kid that you found out is lying to you. You know, from a practical standpoint it has to be addressed with a consequence. And on another practical point, you do not give more freedom to a kid who is lying or being stinky to you. So you do not. So if you’re on this verge of, do I get this kid a phone for Christmas but they’re lying and stinky to me? No, you do not. You’re not going to give them more freedom if you’re having this issue right. So on a practical point, you have to address the line with the consequence and you have to talk through that. But I think the bigger point here, and the majority of the show that we’ve talked about, is you have to dig deeper than the consequence. You have to figure out why is the plate broken, why is the relationship broken? What am I doing wrong to contribute to this? Am I doing something in our home that has made my kid feel like they need to lie to me or they need to protect me, or they just cannot tell me this, and so that is really important.
This next thing, and it’s final thing that I kind of want to wrap up with and it’s not cliche, it sounds cliche, but it’s not. Listen, your kid is lied to you. You’ve listened to this show. We’ve given you some practical. We told you how to dig deeper.
Before you do anything with your kid, i want you to pray. I don’t want you to say what Mandy and Kim said and then go apply it to your kids. I don’t want you to do any of that yet. We’re just giving you ideas of what’s worked in our home. Right, what I want you to do is pray, because God sees this situation. God sees why your kid lied and how you’re getting ready to respond, and I want you to pray for wisdom, because God knows that kid, god knows you, god knows this whole situation and he is going to be able to give you better wisdom and better advice on how to address this. Then, kim, or I, or anyone for that matter So your first step is always to pray through these things, and then these podcasts are just examples.
Like this is how we’ve handled it, this is what we’re learning. You know, maybe it’ll give you a snippet of something that maybe will work, but your first source is God And I want you to pray through that, because time and time again, when I’m in a situation like this, where I’m like, oh my gosh, my kid did this, why in the world did my kid do this right? And I don’t know how to address it And I don’t know what I’m going to say or do, like, as I’m praying through it, like God will just show me, he’ll wake me up at 2 am, or I’ll get up the next morning and my kid will say something and it’ll trigger something and I’ll be like, oh, that’s what we need to talk about, that’s what we’ve missed in all this. And so pray through this and pray for wisdom and don’t flippantly not do that. That’s really step one, the most important step in all this.
0:26:58 – Speaker 2
So you’re saying it would be better to pray than slap them upside the head?
0:27:05 – Speaker 1
That’s how you started the show and that is not okay. Let us be very clear that is not okay. That is not how you respond to lies.
0:27:13 – Speaker 2
Thankfully, prayer is a much better option.
0:27:16 – Speaker 1
Thank you so much for joining us, listening and sharing our podcast. Because of you, this show is in the top 5% of over 2.9 million podcasts.
0:27:28 – Speaker 2
We have lots of resources for you, from counseling to live events. Or if you have a show idea or a question for our team, visit our website at nextTalk.org. We’d love to hear from you.
0:27:39 – Speaker 1
At nextTalk. We’re more than cyber parenting. It’s conversations to connect.
0:27:44 – Speaker 2
This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional, or to diagnose, treat or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological or legal problem. Listeners are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
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